Sochi has officially become Russia’s fifth legal gambling zone, some two years after the country’s parliament passed laws that allowed its establishment.
The new Krasnaya Polyana zone was finalised by a resolution signed by Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, according to TAS, the state news agency.
Plans for the zone, which is to be situated on 165,000 square meters of land that was previously allocated for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, were originally agreed by the duma in June 2014.
Gambling, other than through licensed bookmakers and betting machines, was banned in all but four areas of Russia in 2009. The original zones created were Altai Territory in West Siberia, the Krasnodar Territory in southern Russia, the Primorye Territory in the Far East and the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad.
Sochi is a major tourist hub in Russia and was transformed by improvements to infrastructure that were completed ahead of the 2014 Olympics. Its population has swelled from 385,000 in 1989 to almost 500,000 in 2016. The surrounding Krasnador territory, which is Russia’s warmest region, has seen its population grow by a third in the last 25 years.